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Declining Wheat Supplies Force Small Businesses into a Corner

Mmachukwu Orizu started her baby formula business, Somma’s Yummies, six years ago after quitting her former job as a medical lab scientist. She uses grains such as corn, rice and brown wheat to make her recipes. She then packages them and prepares them for delivery. But because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, she’s not sure when she will get her next supply of wheat, and she said scarcity of wheat also is affecting the prices of other ingredients. Orizu said with a key ingredient hard to come by these days, business has not been the same. She said she’s beginning to look for other alternatives, even though she is concerned about her customers’ preferences. Nigeria imported an average of $2 billion worth of wheat in 2020 and 2021, mostly from the United States and Russia, according to the country’s statistics bureau. However, the Nigerian Manufacturers Association (MAN) said grain shortages are not the only problem. Before the Russian invasion, businesses were already struggling with electricity and fuel shortages, inflation, poor infrastructure and growing insecurity.